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November 11, 2015

An Open Letter to the Artist Who Painted Me.

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Dearest You,

When I met you I was a blank canvas;
A clean, white sheet of skin, and a frame of dark hair.
Sometimes I would colour my lips with different shades of red
in hopes of looking more like a masterpiece
but it never made me feel any less plain.

However; in a night filled with a rainbow of drinks,
and just as colourful words, you had me believing
that you could change this feeling.
You needed a creative outlet,
And I was a good place to start.

Up until you kissed me I didn’t understand art,
but the gold flecks in your eyes and the pink of your lips
were the class I never took in high school.
I could feel your creativity in my bones,
I knew you could complete me,
but it seems, looking back that we had different ideas of completeness.
It didn’t take you long before you showed me your true colours.

One day, your rough hands painted my lily whiteness with splashes
of sunshine yellow,
Of parakeet green,
ocean blue,
ink black
and royal purple.

You had me convinced that my paleness was meant to cast these colours.
That I was an opal and this meant you found me so precious.
So from then on, you kept me like a ring,
a pretty posession in your jewelry box of an apartment.
You seldom took me out; because as you put it,
the weather conditions would only tarnish me
and when you found me becoming dull,
you would shine me up with more bruises,
and make me new again.

On the days you let me out,
you’d spit in my mouth;
your murky, grey tinted saliva
like a signature on your artwork
so that I would never forget who painted me.
Still, I thought I was your muse,
but instead I was a practice sketch.

I’ll never forget the night you told me
that you had found a new medium,
that you wanted to sculpt now
and that I would not make a good statue.
So you threw me out and replaced me with clay instead.
That night I felt like a drawing book,
and that you ripped my pages off the wire that held me together.

It took time, but long after the shades
that were brushed upon my skin had faded,
after many transparent tears had somehow stained the paper off-white,
I looked down and pictured the watercolour bruises,
and wondered why I never saw them as mere scribbles,
or doodles of a manic man who had no business making art,
and that maybe I’d been valuable all along.

So I painted my lips red again,
because deep down I guess,
I always knew it was my colour
appreciated the ebony of my hair,
and hung myself in a museum,
because while I was never art to you,
goddamnit, I started treating myself like a masterpiece.

Sincerely,

A Brand New Exhibit.

~

Relephant:

Women of the Earth. {Poem}

~

Author: Skylar Payton

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: tangi bertin/Flickr & paullita100/Pixabay

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Skylar Payton